The North Carolina Board of Transportation committee says the new replacement bridge over Oregon Inlet to Hatteras Island will open soon, and when it does, it may have a new name, The News & Observer reports.
It may be named after Marc Basnight, the Democratic state Senator who represented the area from 1984 to 2011 and was a champion for replacing the bridge. The full Board of Transportation is expected to approve the name change during its March 7 meeting.
The new 2.8-mile bridge, which carries N.C. 12 over the inlet, was built alongside the 56-year-old Herbert C. Bonner Bridge and is expected to open to traffic in late February. A blessing and wreath-laying ceremony took place February 16 at the bridge’s highest point, 90 feet, and the public was allowed to walk or ride bicycles on the bridge from the north end.
A formal bridge dedication ceremony will take place in early April, at which time the new sign may be in place naming it the “Marc Basnight Bridge.”
Demolition of the old Bonner Bridge, which opened in 1993, will begin as soon as the new bridge opens to traffic and should be completed in 2019. All of the old bridge will be demolished except for a 1,000-foot section at the south end that will remain in place as a walkway for pedestrians and, possibly, a fishing pier, if federal agencies grant the necessary permits, North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) spokesman Tim Hass told the news agency, adding that the bridge pieces will be taken to artificial reef sites along the North Carolina coast.
NCDOT says the new $252 million bridge is designed to last 100 years.